Narrative vs. Montage

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Each film has a distinct purpose associated with it. Whether this purpose is as simple as teaching children a valuable lesson or as complex as criticizing a society's barriers, there are explicit goals which must be discerningly conveyed. There are specific elements to filmmaking which are designed to contribute to the goals set forth when making a film. Such elements include what would be considered "aesthetics of astonishment," or striking images, editing conflict and other techniques associated with montage filmmaking. Each of these techniques imprint a thought or logic on a film – a kind of "watermark" – that pushes the film itself towards the accomplishment of the original goals. Regardless of the need for the completion of these "higher goals", a director's ability to keep a viewer's undivided attention is crucial to the success of a film. Each viewer must remain fascinated from start to finish by the plot and characters, or he will lose interest in the film. So, when a film relies on a strong narrative base to keep its audience captivated, there is little room for variation from the elements which depict the story best. Striking montage images or techniques, if not carefully placed, can have a tendency to take the viewer's eye from the progression of the narrative and turn their thought to something else.

Quite often, montage aspects of a film are deliberately placed to invoke specific thoughts or feelings. Such techniques can be employed to even go so far as to provide an alternate connotation to an event than what the average viewer would normally formulate. Parallelism is a method designed to do just that. This technique allows directors to have his audience associate a single action or event with a secondary action or event. The Strike parallels the slaughter of a cow and the execution of factory workers to generate a deeper emotion than one would normally associate with murder. The audience does not view the execution as merely mass murder, but...
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